Should Haye bail?
Glenn McCrory warns David Haye to think very carefully before he goes chasing Wladimir Klitschko again.
Last Updated: 26/06/09 10:51am
Let's be clear - what Wladimir Klitschko achieved in destroying Ruslan Chagaev was mightily impressive. Such a comprehensive victory under such circumstances shouldn't really happen.
Look at the facts: Klitschko took a fight at a couple of weeks' notice against possibly the best heavyeweight in the world other than himself and his brother; Chagaev is a former world amateur champion, world title holder and was undefeated; he is also a southpaw and presents a totally different challenge to David Haye.
It was one of the rare occasions you'll find in boxing when the opponent stepping in - fit and hungry after the collapse of his fight with Nikolay Valuev - is superior to the original one. And yet Klitschko bashed him up.
I've been very critical of him at times in the past, but this is a heavyweight who just keeps on improving, and there's no sign of him levelling off as he gets older.
He still splits opinion simply because the public always wants to see an all-guns-blazing, up-and-down contest fought with a warrior spirit. Klitschko learned pretty early on that if you get hit, you can get hurt, and the defensive skills he's honed may not be crowd-pleasing but they make him a damned difficult man to get at.
There was more than a polished defence on show against Chagaev, though. He took the centre ground, controlled the ring and dished plenty out - taking the fight out of Chagaev with that shattering jab. People will argue that Chagaev did nothing, but Klitschko never gave him a chance.
So what of David Haye's chances now - firstly of getting the fight at all and secondly of winning it? I think the first question David needs to ask himself is: 'do I want to fight Klitschko on this form?'
Credit to David for talking his way into it in the first place - we all know what a breath of fresh air he is and how much he has to offer. But I wonder if he shouldn't rethink his whole strategy with the Klitschkos, because if he is going to have a chance of beating either he needs heavyweight fights under his belt.
Maybe he should be looking a level below the brothers - to the Chagaevs and Oleg Maskaevs of the division - to discover whether he's worthy of a shot at the best. It's all very well talking yourself into something, but if you don't have the tools to back it up...
Boxing being boxing, though, I think Haye-Klitschko will happen. The original fight was on its way to selling 60,000 tickets in Germany - where the sport is going great guns just now - and the fans there will want it to happen, if only to see their man put Haye in his place.
What Haye can do that Chagaev was unable to, I'm not sure. He will obviously want to cut the distance down and get at Klitschko's suspect chin from close quarters, but when you're facing an opponent who is 6ft 7in and can jab like that it is much easier said than done.
Tuesday sees us return to the domestic scene on Sky Sports for Jason Booth's British super-bantamweight defence against Rocky Dean. If it's a crowd-pleasing fight you're after this might be your man.
All of us on the Sky team have so much time for Booth - he's such a colourful character and he's entertained us for years - but one thing we know about Dean is he will come to fight.
I expect the challenger to push him all the way, but Booth has the skills to win and has to be looking ahead at a possible contest with Rendall Munroe. I'm not sure he could beat Munroe, who is looking up towards world level, but what a domestic fight that would be.
Darren Sutherland has also been added to the York Hall bill, and it's encouraging to see him so willing to take a fight 10 days before he next gets in the ring in Sunderland.
I know Sutherland and had one of my Cubans spar with him. He's my pick of the Olympians and he'll have been used to fighting five times a week as an amateur. At this stage of his career, and with the attitude he has to his conditioning, a quick turnaround is no problem.